Fucking hell. It was going to be a long day. Too damn long. My best friend was getting married. Nathan had finally closed the deal with Rachel. Took him much longer than it will me when I finally find the woman I want to make my old lady. Nathan and Rachel were the only ones who knew what I really wanted. Craved. Longed for.
My reputation would make it hard for others to believe that I was ready to settle down with one woman but I was. I had been ready once a long time ago too. But she broke my heart. Countless bottles of booze and endless amounts of fresh, new pussy had cured the heartbreak. But I had still jumped enthusiastically from bed to bed. Brenda was the only repeater in the rotation, but she wasn’t the one. She was beautiful and I liked her, but it wasn’t love. It never would be.
When she’d thought she was pregnant I was terrified. I’d always used condoms. Always. I also didn’t cum in the condom. Only somewhere waist up. Tits, mouth, face. Yeah, I fucking know. I was a dick. But I would have done the right thing, made her my old lady and taken care of her and our kid. But the doctor telling her the test was a false positive was the best news I’d ever heard.
And I’d been celibate ever sense. Nearly six long fucking months without sex. The next girl I fucked would be the last. The only one I’d ever make love to. Because despite countless sexual experiences, that’s the one I hadn’t yet had.
“Here,” I said, forcing my mind back to the present, handing Nathan the flask.
“Nah,” he said, shaking his hand. “I want to be sober for this.”
“In case she tries to run?”
I snorted while Bender grunted. We had a small bet going on. She’d tried to run from him three times. Good thing he loved the chase.
“She’s too slow now that she’s knocked up,” Bender offered his wisdom.
“She’s only twenty weeks.”
After their anatomy scan, whatever the fuck that was, yesterday, they’d announced the name of their son. Storm. What the fuck kind of name is that? Hawk would have been much better, which I told them.
“You need to do something to calm yourself down,” I said. His anxiousness was so bad it was making me anxious. “A drink will help. Or a joint.”
“Rachel will kill me if I’m not sober for this. Honestly, she’s threatened multiple times to make me stay sober with her until the kid pops out. I don’t want to give her any ammunition.”
Whoever I end up with better know that I’m in charge. I won’t have it any other way. It’s got nothing to do with misogyny. But being in charge would be the only way I’d be able to keep her safe. And once I finally found her, that would be my only priority.
“We could go for a ride?”
Nathan looks down at his outfit. It wasn’t really that much different from what he usually had on, just newer and cleaner. Black jeans replaced his usually faded blue ones. Instead of a white t-shirt he was wearing a white button down, one that he absolutely did not iron himself. Over it, he was wearing his cut. Just like he should be.
He didn’t want to dirty his clothes. That was cute.
He also hadn’t been riding as much as usual since Rachel got pregnant. He wouldn’t let her anywhere near the back of his bike, and since they were nearly always together, he was almost always in his truck.
I’d be playing best man at this party. Bender was a groomsman and so was Hands. The rest of the brothers just got to sit back, drink and enjoy. They were looking forward to Rachel’s friends and family coming. New women to hit on in other words. But Rachel’s only family was the MC and her three friends were all happily taken.
JJ, our club attorney, had scooped up her friend Chrissy, also a lawyer, the first day. He’d cleared it with Nathan and Rachel and as soon as they were sent off- by fucking sparklers. Seriously, who comes up with this shit? As soon as they were gone, JJ was going to propose. We all knew she would say yes. She was one of the bridesmaids. Jamie was Rachel’s maid of honor, they’d been friends their entire lives, grown up in a club together like Nathan and I had. She was happily taken by Annie, the quiet little red head.
The boys were going to be disappointed when no new ladies rolled in tonight. And I was going to laugh at all of them.
“Gun range?” Bender suggested.
“Good idea,” I said.
“Let’s go.” We followed Nathan out of his office, our designated pre wedding place. We were given strict instructions not to go to the bar area as it was being prepared for the reception because apparently “we’d mess everything up.”
Thankfully we could walk out the back door to the combination gym and gun range.
“How long before we need to leave?” Nathan asked.
“Thirty minutes, Prez,” Hands said.
Thirty minutes of shooting. That was nearly as good as thirty minutes with a blonde screaming beneath me while I pounded in to her.
And only blondes. Sammie had ruined brunettes for me.
The range and gym smelled like a combination of sweat, mold, piss and vomit. It was high time we get one of the new prospects out here to clean this place up. I made a mental not to get Joey in here tomorrow. Or the day after. He’d have his hands full tomorrow cleaning up from today’s party.
Rachel had bitched at me countless times. Apparently a wedding wasn’t a party. But it had booze, dancing, music. It was a party. Weddings just cost a shit ton more.
Nathan unlocked the gun case, picking out a hand gun and rifle before walking towards a lane. We kept rank, meaning I was next, then Bender and then Hands.
Thirty minutes passed quickly and when the timer on Hands’ phone went off, indicating it was time to leave, I grumbled slightly. This would be the first and last time I let one of these shit heads rope me into being in the wedding party. I bet every other brother was already well on their way to drunk. Hopefully none of them were stupid enough to make a scene at the ceremony otherwise Nathan would have their patch and Rachel would have their balls in a glass display case above the mantle.
Right next to where she kept Nathan’s.
We piled into the MC’s new Expedition. The shootout a few months back had fucked the truck. We used the money Seal brought in from his last security gig to buy the SUV. She was huge. And beautiful.
I growled at anybody else who wanted to drive her. One of these shitheads was going to crash her. I just knew it. I’d also invoked a no sex rule. I did not want to be finding used condoms in here. Nathan had seconded it immediately, but as soon as church was over he’d said that rule didn’t count for him.
I drove to the clearing where my mom and Nathan’s mom used to bring us when shit was going down with the club while we were younger. He’d brought Rachel here and she’d fallen in love. Now it was their place. It made me jealous because as soon as I realized I wanted the real deal, marriage, commitment and all that garbage I’d immediately thought of this place.
Now I’d need to find another one. I didn’t need to bring my girl up here to find Nathan and Rachel already there. Especially because I could guarantee they’d be fucking. Especially if I wasn’t there to prevent it. I hadn’t actually enjoyed being a cockblock, as Rachel so eloquently put it, but once she’d implied I enjoyed it, well then I started too.
I’d moved the habit to the other brothers. I always had a shit eating grin on my face when I got to interrupt them.
I wasn’t winning any popularity contests with this newfound hobby, but I didn’t care.
“Ready?” I asked when I pulled the SUV in front of the bikes that were parked. We were right on time. Rachel was set to arrive in five minutes. Chrissy was the coordinator or whatever the hell person who thought they were in charge was. She knocked on my window, flashing her phone with the time. 5:51. Okay, we were a minute late and I was about to get chewed out for it.
Bender hadn’t factored in the time it would take to clean up all the guns in his planning.
“We’re here,” I said opening the door and jumping out.
“Late!” She screeched.
“By a minute. Calm down.” She glared at me. Some day I would learn not to tell a pissed off woman to calm down. That day wouldn’t be today. “If I drove any faster I wouldn’t have gotten him here in one piece. Rachel wouldn’t like that.”
At the mention of her bride and best friend she relaxed. But only slightly.
Nathan had a stupid smile on his face the entire time. He wasn’t nervous in the slightest. The gun rage had cured his nerves.
“You have the rings?”
Feeling my pockets I made my face display panic. “Shit. No.” I swear, smoke literally came out of her ears. “Kidding,” I grinned before she could explode. “Safe and sound.”
“Give me Nathan’s. I’ll give it to Jamie when they get here.”
“How do I know you’re trustworthy?”
Rolling her eyes, is that a trait all women have in common? Rolling her eyes, she held her hand out, palm open and waiting. Digging into my pocket I pulled out the ring that held the world’s oldest and smallest show of possession, a wedding band.
“Thank you.” She tucked it into the pocket of her dress. Apparently this was also a thing? Thinking back to the conversation they’d had, loudly, in the bar at the clubhouse about how the dresses needed pockets I just didn’t understand. Apparently I didn’t understand because guys clothes always had pockets. And women’s didn’t. Who knew?
Rachel had called it a teaching moment and said I should pay more attention so they could make sure I knew what I was doing when I found my old lady.
I’d hightailed it out of there.
“Hawk! Are you listening?” Chrissy snapped. “Do you know what you’re supposed to do?”
“Walk in behind Prez here,” I said clapping my hand on his back. “Look pretty, which is never a problem. And smile. Hand over the ring when told to by the officiant.” Her lips pursed as she swallowed whatever retort she wanted to give. She hated that she couldn’t best me.
I loved getting under these girls’ skin. Her, Jamie, Annie and Rachel. They made it so easy for sarcastic comments to come from my mouth. But with Rachel I needed to tread carefully. She gave as good as she got. I’m sure Jamie was the same way but Annie had her so tightly wrapped around her finger. I didn’t need to worry about her.
“We’re ready,” she said when the officiant showed up. He looked all business in his suit and tie, the only one of us who was dressed that formally. We all matched Nathan.
He lead us in, followed by Nathan then me, then Bender and Hands brining up the rear. I smiled when the brothers let out a beckon of catcalls when we entered. Nathan, always using his powers as the club president, quieted them with just a look. They all sat together, behind Nathan’s parents. But there was no true division of sides, especially since Rachel had no family and only three friends, all of whom were standing next to her. Or would be when she showed up.
The music started and Annie was the first to come down the aisle. Her red dress and combination of red hair made for an interesting combination. Next came Chrissy and I didn’t dare look at her. I didn’t need a fight with JJ. Then came Jamie. I snuck a look at Annie and was jealous of the look. I wanted someone to look at me like that.
The music changed and everyone stood. Walking in, head held high, eyes glued straight on her old man, Rachel was truly stunning, even with her ever growing pregnancy bump. Her dress had long sleeves, since it was nearly December. It got a little chilly, even in California. It was tight around her chest and I had to force myself to be a gentleman and not stare. Pregnancy hormones had made everything just a little bit bigger. Nathan said she’d never been sexier and I couldn’t fault him for that opinion. The dress was simple and cinched under her chest before flaring out, unable to hide her bump. Surely there was a name for this type of style, but hell if I knew what it was. I didn’t care either.
The movement of Nathan wiping tears from his eyes caught my attention. Rachel had tears rolling down her face while she beamed at him.
It was nauseating to look at.
And I wanted it.
All of it.
Maybe Nathan was right. Maybe I should try tinder.
I listened to the nondenominational officiant- couldn’t exactly have a church wedding while you’re twenty weeks pregnant, welcome everyone. I missed a joke because everyone else laughed.
Rachel had made her desire for a short ceremony abundantly clear and things moved quickly. Jamie read a love poem, that I didn’t really listen to, and then it was straight into the vows.
“Rachel, I knew from the moment I saw you that you were the woman for me. You brought me to my knees. I would chase you to the ends of the earth.” That line got a light chuckle from the audience because he may very well have to do just that. “Your beautiful, inside and out. I love the way you make me laugh and how you are never afraid to put me in my place. But there’s no malice when you do. You’re not afraid to speak your mind, but support me even when you think I’m doing the wrong thing. Which I usually am. You balance my crazy and you’re exactly what I always wanted while being exactly what I need. I vow to love you, everyday for the rest of our lives. I’ll love and protect you, as well as our son with my last breath.” He paused. “And if you run, I’ll chase you.”
Rachel’s head fell back in laughter as he slipped his last words in. Maybe she really wouldn’t run this time.
She took one of her hands away from his to wipe under her eyes before she spoke. “Nathan, as one of my friends so accurately stated,” she turned her head looking at Jamie accusingly while her friend just smirked in return. “I look at you like you hung the moon and the stars. Because for me you, did. But not just the galaxy, the entire universe. Admittedly, I tried running from you a time or two.”
“Three,” someone in the audience coughed, causing more laughter from the crowd. Rachel blushed, chuckling along with everyone else before continuing.
“But I couldn’t run from you. My destiny. You have my entire heart and I promise to love you for the rest of my life. And maybe to some day stop running from you.”
Nathan mirrored her grin and shook his head at her.
“Now for the rings,” Mr. Officiant said. Nathan stuck his hand out to me. I dropped the dainty piece of white gold in his hand while Jamie does the same with his ring in Rachel’s hand. His is completely black, made from titanium.
I watched, pretending to be stoic while in reality I was happy for him, for them, as they exchanged rings and repeated the words of the officiant.
“You may now kiss the bride.” Prez wasted no time grabbing her by her face, hands on her cheeks and dragging her forward. Cheers erupted around us while I clapped for them and he staked the final claim he could on her. His old lady. Baby mama. Wife. His name was inked on her skin and his ring was on her finger. Last night he’d had Ink tattoo her name on his chest. He was basically covered and there wasn’t a free spot on him, but Ink had used red, the color contrasting starkly to the black and grey he had everywhere, to tattoo her name on his skin.
Apparently I’d always been somewhat of a sap because I was basically covered from the neck down to my thighs, hands included, but there was a blank spot on the left side of my chest. I hadn’t noticed it until recently but apparently my subconscious knew what it was doing. A blank spot for the name of my old lady.
I was surprised by it too.
As we followed them down the aisle the photographer captured the image, forever writing it in MC history.
Begrudgingly I allowed myself to be forced to stand for the hundreds of pictures Chrissy insisted were taken. Even Rachel had had enough by the time we were done.
“I’m pregnant and hungry! We’re going to the reception. Now!”
Her demeanor calmed instantly when Nathan pulled a king sized package of Reese’s from inside his cut.
“I knew I married you for a reason,” she said before kissing him aggressively. His lips moved against her’s, but in laughter, not as a kiss.
“Let’s party!” Bubbles shouted as he ran passed us. You’d think he was drunk, but he was the one who actually volunteered to drive the happy couple around, remaining sober.
They climbed into the back of their new explorer, a family vehicle Nathan had called it while I laughed at him. I also couldn’t believe he was letting Bubbles drive it. Hands and Bender came with me in the club’s expedition as we made our way back to the clubhouse.
The parking lot was already full when we got there. Anybody who wasn’t forced to stay for pictures was already back, undoubtedly drunk.
I couldn’t believe the way the bar looked when I walked in. It even smelled clean. But it looked like fairies had thrown up everywhere. The shitty old tables were covered with respectable white linen. White Christmas lights sparkled, strung from the ceiling in every direction. Flowers and candles covered every surface. I ran my hand over one of the candles; thankfully someone was smart enough to get battery ones and not ones with real flames. The place would have been burnt to the ground if that much liquor came into contact with fire.
Flowers. Fucking everywhere. They were hanging from the ceiling, wrapped around tree branches that were strategically hung.
Everything fucking sparkled.
I made my way to my usual booth, beckoning for a beer and whiskey.
“Here ya go,” Brenda said. Rachel had tried to convince her that a guest shouldn’t bar tend, but she hated letting anyone else behind her bar.
“Thanks,” I said, tilting the bottle to her in thanks. Despite how things had ended we were still friends. She’d find a good man someday. She deserved that much. Even if I couldn’t give it to her.
I didn’t move from my spot the entire night. I sat and watched the happy couple dance with each other. They looked so in love. Truly happy.
Hopefully, whoever she was, whoever my old lady was, hopefully she was out there waiting for me. I wanted to find her.